Social media Christmas is a thing. From Twitter to Reddit to Facebook, today’s youth do comment about Christmas. The social media of today is building a wonderful record of their thoughts about Christmas and that record will be available for their grandchildren to read in the future.
Too bad we don’t have the same thing from the teenagers of the past, eh?
Who says we don’t? In our ongoing research of Christmas past on many topics we frequently stumble upon little gems of Christmas we never expect to see. The images of this post are such a gem.
They show an incredible newspaper record from the year 1818.
It is written by a student of the Windsor Female Academy of Windsor, Vermont and it appeared in the Vermont Republican on August 18th, 1818.
We don’t know her name and we don’t know why she, of all people, made the newspaper. But thanks to modern efforts in both technology and archiving, we know her thoughts.
There are some incredible facts behind this find.
This was published before Clement C. Moore’s poem of A Visit from St. Nicholas. In fact, this was before any kind of real tradition of Santa Claus in the 19th century.
Christmas trees were not even a thing yet. This is even some 25 years before A Christmas Carol was published.
This came from a time when many historians claim Christmas wasn’t even celebrated in places like Windsor, Vermont.
So, what does she say?
It’s titled “On the Propriety of Celebrating Christmas”.
She says she wanted to “endeavor to discover the propriety of this custom which is so strictly observed by some, whilst wholly neglected by others, and show as far as I am able, wherein it may be considered a duty”.
She sounds like a teenager, right? She’s staking a position and calling folks to action. Do we not see that still?
The Windsor Female Academy was founded just four years earlier in 1814 and was kind of a radical departure in education at the time. The school not only was for girls but was run by mostly women – very unusual for that day and age.
It claimed to provide girls a free education in the arts, sciences and mathematics by engaging them in elements within the community, such as newspapers.
Perhaps this is why we’re lucky enough now to know what this young lady wanted to say about Christmas.
She reasons, in speaking of George Washington, who was still a huge figure in American culture at that time, “Where is the patriot who does not rejoice to hail the birthday of the deliverer of his own land? Or where the true American who can ever willingly suffer the 22nd of February [Washington’s birthday] to pass unnoticed by him?”
Then she gets to the point of Christmas on her mind:
“And if we deem it such an honorable, as well as highly respectable duty, thus to commemorate the birth of the saviour of his county, how much greater ought our gratitude to be to him, and how much more deserving our notice, who is the saviour of the world.”
You can read the entirety of her comments by just clicking on the images in this post. We encourage you to do so as you contemplate what these snippets tells us, once again, of the early 19th century celebration of Christmas.
It tells us that Christmas was pervasive in American society, even then.
While it notes that some kept Christmas and others did not, that much has not really changed over time, has it?
She acknowledges that the differences in how Christmas is celebrated could cause some to doubt if Christmas was appropriate altogether.
Is that not debated today, too?
I get challenged occasionally about my denial of the work of some “historians” about Christmas in our podcasts and other features. But this kind of historical find showcases exactly why I challenge the predominate historical claims of today’s scholars.
There are evidences aplenty that the common historical take on Christmas in America before, say 1840, are completely misplaced. This is just another proof of that.
Christmas was huge. Even in Vermont.
Even among young people.